Center for Directed Energy (CDE)

Center for Directed Energy (CDE)
Program Details

Laser Weapons Systems Short Course (LWSSC)
Current as of: 06/06/2014

Degree Type: Professional Continuing Education

Course Description

A thorough presentation of High Energy Laser (HEL) weapon systems will be developed for students with undergraduate degrees in engineering or science who are interested in an overview of HEL systems at some technical depth. The 32 hour short course is intended to provide a complete overview of laser weapon systems, including laser devices (chemical, solid-state, and free electron), laser subsystems (power, thermal management, fluid supply), beam control (beam directors, tracking and control, and adaptive optics), atmospheric propagation, targets and lethality, engagement scenarios, and weapon system performance. The course emphasizes concepts, terminology, current technology capabilities, and system concepts. The course does not develop key relationships from first principles. Limitations on the effectiveness of HEL weapons will be addressed. Application of these concepts to current systems will include the historical Airborne Laser Laboratory, Airborne Laser, Tactical High Energy Laser, Advanced Tactical Laser, and Space Based Laser Programs. The effectiveness of high energy laser weapons on the battlefield will be simulated using engagement and mission level models. The course includes a number of extended worked problems, including a simplified calculation of weapon effectiveness for a high altitude, long-range, air-to-air engagement.

The course outline is as follows:

  • The promise of HEL weapons
  • Concepts of systems engineering
  • Overview of HEL weapon systems
  • Fundamentals of laser devices
  • The atmosphere
  • Beam control systems
  • Lethality
  • HEL weapon systems
  • Laser weapon system effectiveness

Intended Audience

US Government personnel and their direct contractors who have program requirements for or are interested in high energy laser weapon systems and their applications. The course assumes the students have some technical background in applied physics, optical sciences, and laser systems--either via an undergraduate degree or career experience.

Instructor Biography

Robert L. Hengehold, Professor of Physics and Head, Department of Engineering Physics, A.B. Thomas More College, 1956; M.S. University of Cincinnati, 1961, Ph.D. University of Cincinnati, 1965. Professor Hengehold’s research areas include experimental solid state physics, semiconductor physics, optical diagnostics and laser spectroscopy. He has been on the AFIT faculty for over 40 years and is the author of over 90 archival publications and 200 presentations.

Glen P. Perram, Professor of Physics, B.S. Cornell University, 1980; M.S. Air Force Institute of Technology, 1981, Ph.D. Air Force Institute of Technology, 1986. Professor Perram’s research interests include chemical lasers, laser weapon modeling and simulation, remote sensing, and chemical physics. He has served on the AFIT faculty since 1989 and is the author of over 30 archival journal articles and 80 presentations

Michael A. Marciniak, Assistant Professor of Physics, B.S. St Joseph’s College, 1981; B.S.E.E. University of Missouri, 1983, M.S.E.E. Air Force Institute of Technology, 1987; Ph.D., Air Force Institute of Technology, 1995. Professor Marciniak’s previous experience includes the Air Force’s high power semiconductor laser program and Program Manager for aerospace power technologies. His research interests include narrow band-gap semiconductors for mid-infrared lasers, coherent phasing of semiconductor lasers, and wide-bandgap semiconductor materials and devices for high-power, high-temperature aerospace applications.

Steven T. Fiorino, Research Associate Professor of Atmospheric Physics (BS, MS, Ohio State University; MMOAS, Air Command and Staff College; BS, PhD, Florida State University). Dr Fiorino's research experience includes microwave remote sensing, evaluating uncertainty in high-energy laser engagement due to atmospheric effects, and improving microphysical characterizations for nuclear fallout, transport, and dispersion.

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